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IOT – Internet of Things

Internet Of Things

Internet Of Things

I stumbled onto and watched an intriguing cable network channel containing programs about Cyber-warfare. As all these specialized channels have become, they are more about drawing in viewers such as myself, than presenting impartial reporting. They all have an agenda, that suits their purpose.

That understood, it still presented a story, many stories , that  need to be heard. Most people will not understand what was shown, but people like myself, raised in a developing world of embedded computing, and have worked in the industry, know exactly what was being said.

Many and perhaps most of the electrical appliances or devices we buy today can communicate via Bluetooth and eventually the Internet via WiFi. Doorbells, coffee pots, televisions, our cars and alarmingly, many of our children’s toys are capable of this today. My wife’s Equinox sends her an email when it needs an oil change.

All this connectivity has very loose if any security. All of it is available and vulnerable to hackers. The hacker doesn’t much care what a device may be saying. What they have (already) done is to command thousands of on-line devices to start communicating to a target internet address. This flood of mindless data transmission causes an overload of the target server called a DOS attack (Denial of Service) There are more “things” talking to a server than it can manage, so nothing gets through.

This has been done to Netflix and other big name financial industry targets. My personal web sites have been victim to DOS attacks on shared servers.

The point is, it is being done by nation states (foreign national governments) and just as easily by 13-year-old domestic (USA) kiddie hackers. Just because they can. Those Russian hackers, blasted on U.S. news,  could just as easily be a Russian 13 year-old… or not.

The TV and Movie industry has played up the ease of cyber snooping and DOS attacks. Just start typing on a computer anywhere and gain control and access to anything. Everything shown is technically possible, just not as seamless and easy as they portray. The problem is almost nothing shown is impossible.

I just purchased and installed a Ring (brand) video doorbell that uses my home WiFi to connect itself to servers on the Internet. That same action has created an access point into my home network and possibly an access to everything else on my network. The question in my mind is, I have no idea or control of that connection except to uninstall the device. Most customers don’t even consider the vulnerability present in a world of interconnected Internet devices. Tim (on the TV program NCIS) could be checking my front door for packages.

I am thinking of what all this means. I am not sure of the action I will take. It could be nothing, or it could be to pull the plug. At least I am aware.

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